A man armed with an assault rifle and pledging loyalty to Islamic State killed 50 people during a gay pride celebration at a nightclub called Pulse in Orlando, Florida. The shooting that took place early on Sunday is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S history. President Barack Obama called this rampage an act of terror.
The gunman, Omar Mateen, 29 a New York born Florida resident and U.S citizen was the son of Afghan immigrants and was questioned twice by FBI in recent years. The shooting killed 50 people and left 53 wounded. Mateen worked for the global security firm G4S for the past 9 years. During the shooting, Omar called 911 and pledged allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Mateen’s ex-wife claimed he had a violent temper and was emotionally disturbed. The family is in complete shocked and is sorry for what happened.
FBI has not identified a possible motive. Mateen’s father, Seddique Mir Mateen was quoted saying that he had seen his son getting angry after witnessing a gay couple kiss in front of his family at a festival marketplace in Miami, few months prior to the attack, which he suggested might be a motivating factor. "It appears he was organized and well-prepared," Orlando Police Chief John Mina said at a Sunday-morning news conference, noting that the shooter had an "assault-type" weapon and a handgun.
The shooting has been described as an example of soft target terrorism, which targets civilian locations with minimal security. Thirty hostages were freed during the SWAT team encounter, and one officer received a non-lethal shot to his head and was hospitalized with eye injuries.39 people were found dead inside the club, with 12 people found dead outside. Many Orlando residents lined up to donate blood at local blood donations centers.
Hours after the Orlando attack, police in Southern California reported arresting a heavily armed man who said he was headed to a gay pride parade in the Los Angeles area, though authorities later said they were mistaken about the man’s target. Meanwhile, in Washington, police stepped up patrols ahead of the Capital Pride Festival, one of dozens of gay pride events scheduled this month across the nation and around the world.
By Sunday evening, a Florida LGBT advocacy group had raised nearly half a million dollars for the victims. More than 11,000 people had donated to Equality Florida’s GoFundMe page in six hours, raising more than $480,000. The funds will go directly to victims and their families.
President Obama said the bloodshed served to highlight how easily people can obtain guns in the United States. He also signed a proclamation honoring victims and ordering that American flags be flown until sunset Tuesday.
This is indeed the deadliest mass shooting the United States has ever seen.